Cabramatta & Kemblawarra Public Schools

Cabramatta and Kemblawarra Public Schools have joined together over the past few years to share cultural experiences and learning activities; and to make friendships.

Sisters, Lena Stefanovska and Dana Kokalevski have combined their passion to promote tolerance and respect through a successful cultural exchange program between students at Cabramatta Public School and Kemblawarra Public School.

Lena and Dana, both teachers, set out to build strong links with each other’s school communities. With the support and enthusiasm from the schools’ principals, other teachers and parents this successful exchange continues with increasing rewards for all involved.

Cabramatta in the south west of Sydney is 70 minutes drive from Kemblawarra. The school is large with 700 students. More than 90% come from language backgrounds other than English. Kemblawarra Public School is located in Wollongong. It is a relatively small school with 110 students. 30%of students are Aboriginal. Other cultural backgrounds of students at the school include Macedonian, Italian, Serbian, Maori and Croatian backgrounds.

The cultural exchange program began in 2005 to facilitate and support the teaching of values education and to incorporate some of the Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE), English and Technology outcomes.

Students participate in a range of activities culminating in two annual visits to each school. The activities include letter writing, using email, making cards, producing small DVDs and sending digital photos. Both schools endeavour to further foster ‘buddy’ relationships further through events such as the Community Day at Cabramatta Public School and a mini fete at Kemblawarra Public as well as outings to the beach and other local attractions.

As a result of these experiences and connections made by students from the different schools, a CD was produced with 30 songs about Kemblawarra Public School including a song about the friendships created through the exchange program, “The buddy song”.

Through the activities associated with the exchange the values of participation, respect, excellence, responsibility, cooperation, care, fairness and democracy are experienced and encouraged.